By Paris Kim
Film Stills via 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
It’s the wonderful, sunny time of the year where I find some time to celebrate its coming with a simple movie called (500) Days of Summer, and to the contrary the film is anything but about an overdue season. If you were moving beyond high school and into the scary first steps of adulthood via the transformative years of college around 2009, you would have worshipped the artsy and anti-rom com feel of this sleeper hit film starring Zooey Deschanel and Joseph Gordon-Levitt. At least I did. To me it stood out as a unique film that really played up its unique cinematography and in media-res narrative that flipped back and forth between the year-and-a-half Tom (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) spent falling in love with, and getting over, a girl named Summer (Zooey Deschanel).
The story itself was eye-opening and layered in terms of its message about love– even ten years on people still debate whether or not Summer was a terrible person who broke Tom’s heart or if Tom was just ignoring all of Summer’s upfront boundaries and fell in love with the idea of the perfect soulmate that she represented that was simply all his own fault (and as the film was shown almost exclusively through his perspective, he definitely was). It felt like a perfect, funny little love story in LA, but as its narrator said in the beginning scene, it definitely was not a love story. It was just a beautifully crafted film on a simple life lesson in maturing.
In being beautifully crafted, the championing of Summer’s persona as a dream girl is well reflected in her perfect looks and quirks, wearing styles that seem straight from Modcloth catalogues and almost exclusively donned in blue– a director’s trick in making Zooey Deschanel’s diamond-blue eyes pop. Whenever I think of this film today, Summer’s unique wardrobe is the first visual that comes up.
Besides blue, Summer is always in prim but playful styles that feel like they’re from far-off times. Flaring skirts in denim or popping prints, ruffled tops and delicate hair bows place Summer apart from the more fitted and modern looks of the other women you see in the film (think Autumn and Alison that you see later). Even Tom describes Summer’s hair as 1960’s. She’s meant to stand out, and why wouldn’t she– she’s the (supposed) girl of Tom’s dreams! So as the film concludes and it’s very apparent that Summer isn’t meant to be, the rich blue color scheme of her styles start to fade, opted out for more earthy tones and mature outfits as we last see her in a dark green sweater complete with a classic trench.
Summer’s own wardrobe felt like another plot device to move the story along, but it welcomed in legions of young women wanting to perfect a style for themselves, namely those looking to add retro flair to their everyday looks. If you were exploring your own style around the release of this film, you found that Summer kept true to her love for whimsical old things and wore her looks casually, as if the norm to the trends of the late aughts. Her confidence radiated through her personality and her clothes, and it was the same feeling you wanted for yourself.
I may not have been as successful in the early 2010’s wearing button-up blouses and billowy skirts tastefully as Summer had, but she has definitely inspired the way I style myself today. How I dress now may not be as blatant of another time as Summer’s many looks, but it still gets people guessing, and I feel happiest embracing these trends of bygone times that I personally love, well aware that it’s not a trend of the season. These looks are ageless and here to stay against the changing times. And since it happens to be my favorite color as well, there’s definitely a lot more blue in my looks, too.
So here’s to Summer, who herself is wonderfully imperfect as all human gals are, but a shining beacon of trendsetting, blending old and new styles to feel exactly the way you want to feel in your clothes. Even if I put the film on for a few friends or even my boyfriend and 500 Days may not be a film to their liking, they can agree that Summer’s evergreen looks are quite the scene-stealers.
Loved (500) Days of Summer, too? We’ve put together a few essentials for our readers in mastering style the Summer way!
Paris Kim is a writer in San Francisco and founder of Marjorie Magazine. Find her on Instagram @ParisKimWrites.